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BOS@TB: Lackey throws seven shutout innings

The last homestand was one of the worst in Red Sox history, as the team went 0-6. It was the first time the club went winless on a homestand of six games or more since 1994.

John Lackey draws the start Wednesday night against the Braves, and he's been Boston's most consistent starter this season. However, as good as Lackey has pitched, his off nights have created trouble for Boston.

Which Lackey appears opposite Braves starter Gavin Floyd at Fenway Park remains to be seen.

One version is the Lackey who helped pitch Boston to its third World Series crown in 10 seasons last October. He has given up two earned runs or fewer in seven of his 10 starts this season, compiling a 5-0 record and a 1.65 ERA in those games.

That includes his seven scoreless innings Friday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out three in his seventh quality start. Despite the strong effort, he earned a no-decision in the eighth loss of Boston's 10-game losing streak, which ended with an 8-6 win against Atlanta on Monday.

"He deserved a better fate," Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said following Lackey's wasted gem. "He deserved better than a no-decision. Once again, we got a ton of guys on base and just couldn't find that hit to get the guy in."

The other side of Lackey has seen the veteran implode in three different starts. He is 0-3 with a 9.37 ERA in those games, including an outing on May 17 when he gave up six runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Even though Lackey is due for an occasional eruption every now and then, Braves third baseman Chris Johnson counts on seeing the Lackey who compiled a 2.77 ERA in 26 postseason innings last year.

"He's had a great career, and it seems like he's right there at the top of his career right now," Johnson said. "He's throwing well, better than anybody in the big leagues, so he's going to be tough."

Braves: Laird producing in place of Gattis
• Catcher Evan Gattis strained his right wrist during batting practice Tuesday, sidelining him for the sixth time during Atlanta's nine-game homestand that concluded with a 6-3 loss to Boston.

Gerald Laird started his sixth game in the past eight days and impressed, upping his clip in those contests to .318 (7-for-22). He has also reached base safely in 13 of his 17 starts this season.

Red Sox: 'Idiots' return to Fenway
• Prior to Wednesday night's game against the Braves, the Red Sox will hold a ceremony to pay tribute to their beloved 2004 World Series championship team.

Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek are among those expected to attend.

The self-proclaimed "idiots" will go down forever in baseball lore for breaking an 86-year championship drought and becoming the first team in history to come back from an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series, pulling off that feat against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

• The Red Sox will have the DH back on Wednesday after losing it for two games in Atlanta. With Mike Napoli on the disabled list, Mike Carp will be the probable starter at first base.

Worth noting 
• Floyd is 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA in four career starts at Fenway Park. He last pitched in Boston on June 1, 2011, earning a victory as he gave up four earned runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings for the White Sox.

• Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew graduated to Triple-A Pawtucket and will play between seven to nine innings at shortstop Wednesday. Drew, who had been at Class A Greenville, could join the Red Sox by June 2.

• Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz will try to throw a bullpen session before Wednesday's game, at which point the club will determine if he's healthy enough to make his next start. Buchholz tweaked his left knee running the bases against the Braves on Monday.

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